Nicholas St. Fleur wins Evert Clark/Seth Payne Award
Honorable mention awarded to Chiara Eisner
St. Fleur received the award and its $1,000 prize for four STAT stories, including one in two parts:
- “Two Black university leaders urged their campuses to join a Covid-19 vaccine trial. The backlash was swift”
- “‘Just utter chaos’: A Twitter thread offers a window into the frustrating search for Covid-19 shots”
- “A doctor trained nurse practitioners to do colonoscopies. Critics say his research exploited Black patients”
- “Chadwick Boseman’s tragedy is America’s tragedy: In colorectal cancer hot spots, young men are dying at higher rates” and “Watch: An unusual 30th birthday gift: Why I got a colonoscopy so young — and documented every step”
Judges said St. Fleur’s reporting covered fresh ground, particularly on topics around race, medicine and research. One judge said a story about colonoscopies was “a tender portrait” approached with “nuance, empathy, and scientific savvy.” Another judge praised the work as “masterfully framed.” St. Fleur was also recognized for exploring issues of race, while being unsparing yet respectful in his storytelling.
Prior to joining STAT as a Knight Wallace Reporting Fellow in September 2020, St. Fleur had worked at The New York Times as a staff reporter and freelance contributor and at The Atlantic. He has interned at Scientific American, NPR, The San Jose Mercury News and Science. He is a graduate of the Science Communication Program at the University of California, Santa Cruz. St. Fleur studied biology at Cornell University and was science editor of The Cornell Daily Sun. Currently, he is both a general assignment reporter and associate editorial director of events at STAT. St. Fleur was first inspired to pursue journalism after watching medical correspondents cover the devastation of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the country where his parents were born.
Along with the winners of other 2021 awards conferred by CASW and the National Association of Science Writers, St. Fleur will be honored this fall during ScienceWriters2021.
Chiara Eisner (@ChiaraEisner), a staff investigative and projects reporter for The State, based in Columbia, South Carolina, also won strong praise from the judges for her investigative reporting, which earned her an honorable mention for the 2021 award:
- “Americans took Prevagen for years—as the FDA questioned its safety,” WIRED, Oct. 21, 2020
- “Large methane leaks reveal long-standing shortfalls in oversight,” Scientific American, Dec. 21, 2020
- “Vaccine testing is changing. Why is this $13B lab still bleeding SC horseshoe crabs?”, The State, Feb 11, 2021
- “Pharma lab seems to contradict itself, science in fight to bleed SC horseshoe crabs,” The State, May 19, 2021
Eisner’s reporting for The State on the industrial exploitation of horseshoe crabs is a model of dogged reporting. “I could tell she asked the difficult questions,” one judge noted. She won accolades for challenging a powerful company that other journalists have had trouble penetrating.
After studying public health and working for global design and health companies, Eisner started her journalism career reporting on science and technology for The Economist as the science desk’s intern in London. She pursued a master’s in investigative reporting from the Columbia Journalism School and was an Investigative Reporting Fellow for The Marshall Project covering criminal justice. Eisner then worked as a freelance investigative reporter, producer and features writer for WIRED, Scientific American, NPR, The Intercept, The Economist and others, filing from everywhere from the Arctic Circle to Honduras.
Judges for the 2021 award were:
- Liz Marshall, lecturer in the professional writing program at the University of Maryland and a former editor at The Scientist
- Nell Greenfieldboyce, science correspondent at National Public Radio
- Thomas Lin, founder and editor of Quanta Magazine and a CASW board member
- Ashley Smart, associate director of the Knight Science Journalism program at MIT, senior editor at Undark, and a CASW board member
- Lisa Margonelli, senior editor at Issues in Science and Technology and author of two books, including Underbug.
The Clark/Payne Award was created to encourage young science writers by recognizing outstanding reporting in all fields of science. It is given each year in honor of journalist Ev Clark, who offered friendship and advice to a generation of young reporters. The award was organized this year by Richard Harris, who recently retired from NPR and is CASW’s treasurer. CASW recently took responsibility for managing the award from John Carey, former long-time senior correspondent for Business Week and colleague of Seth Payne, who raised money for the award in memory of Ev Clark. This is the 33rd year of the award.
Entrants must be age 30 or younger. The deadline for submissions is the end of June each year. For more information, please see the Evert Clark page at casw.org.